Oliver “Buddy” Pough

Veteran South Carolina State head football coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough announced last Thursday before his team’s Saturday date at the MEAC/SWAC Classic that this will be his final one leading the Bulldogs.

“I wanted to let you all know before the season got underway,” Pough said in a release from the university. “No one is running me off. It’s my decision. When you have done something for 47 years, it’s a bit tough to give it up, but it’s time. I will be all right.”

Pough, 70, the dean of black college head football coaches, is entering his 22nd year leading South Carolina State after taking over from Bulldog legend Willie Jeffries in 2002. This is his 47th year in coaching.

He has amassed a 146–87 overall record and a 112–42 MEAC record at SC State. Each of those marks makes him the winningest head coach in SCSU football history. He has produced 15 winning seasons and won three outright MEAC titles (2008, 2009 and 2021) and shared five others (2004, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2019). He and his teams have made five trips to the FCS playoffs.

His 2021 MEAC championship team went on to defeat Jackson State and head coach Deion Sanders 31-10 in the prestigious Cricket Celebration Bowl, earning his team the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) national championship, the second of his college coaching career.

Pough played at SC State from 1971-74 and for Jeffries in his last two seasons. He was a SCSU assistant from 1979 to 1988 and became an assistant to Jeffries from 1997 until taking over as head coach in 2002.